J/111s Dominate Chicago Bi-State
The Bi-State and the Tri-State is a multi-leg offshore race held over Labor Day Weekend on the southern parts of Lake Michigan. Chicago to St. Joseph, MI is the first leg of the race. More than 100 boats departed Friday evening for a fast sprint of 50.5 NM across the lake, most boats finishing early Saturday morning. For most, Saturday was a day of rest in St. Joseph with the Annual Beach Volleyball Tournament and live entertainment at the St. Joseph River YC. Then, on Sunday morning, racers chose whether to continue to Michigan City, IN as part of the traditional Tri-State or head back to Chicago for the Bi-State leg of the race. Most chose the latter based on the forecasted light winds down the Michigan shoreline. With 18 boats, the PHRF 2 class was the largest in the event. Winning easily was the J/111 PURA VIDA (John Kalanik) with a 1-2 for 3 points. Third in class was the J/111 WARLOCK (Tom Dickson) with a 6-1 for 7 points. Find all the YachtScoring information here:
Chicago to St Joe: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4306
St Joe to Michigan City: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4333
St Joe to Chicago: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4332
Michigan City to Chicago: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4334
J/111 Partnership Wins Division at Vineyard Race
Labor Day weekend's Vineyard Race is a 238-mile course stretching from Shippan Point through the currents of The Race, past Block Island, and on to the light tower at the entrance to Buzzard's Bay. Once reached, sailors return by leaving Block Island to starboard en route to the finish in Stamford Harbor. This year, a massive offshore Low was spinning away, producing strong Northerly winds that ultimately swung East as the fleet rounded Buzzards Bay Tower. The race has expanded its format to include three races being run simultaneously. The "classic" is the "round Buzzards Bay Tower" and back. The two additions are the Cornfield Point Course (the shortest) and the Seaflower Reef Course (middle distance). Winning PHRF 10 class was MaryEllen Tortorello’s J/111 PARTNERSHIP, followed by John Donovan’s J/111 LIBERTAS in third place and Abhijeet Lele’s J/111 VARUNA in fourth. For more Vineyard Race information, visit http://www.stamfordyc.com/Sailing/Vineyard_Race_(1).
J/111 SWEENY Wins Breskens Sailing Weekend
The forecast for this year’s Breskens Sailing Weekend in The Netherlands was not far off the mark. The three days were characterized by generally light winds in the 5-8 knot range, with two of the days starting off postponed, waiting for the wind to build into a race-able breeze for the fleets sailing on the two courses. On the final day, Course A PRO Walther de Block was forced to shorten the first race, saying, "I hoisted the S-flag. It took more than an hour before the sailors arrived at the first buoy and that is too long. The second race was better, and we managed to run the maximum number of seven races. A great achievement given the tough circumstances!" Course B sailors were also able to get in seven races over the weekend. In the one-design fleet of J/111s, winning was Hans Zwijnenburg’s SWEENY, fresh off their win in the J/CUP. They are on a roll, having won most of the races. Taking second was Jorg Sigg’s LALLEKONING, and in third position was Sebastien de Liedekerke’s DJINN. For more Breskens Sailing Weekend information, visit http://www.breskenssailing.nl/.
Skeleton Key Secures Victory at 2017 J/111 Worlds at St. Francis Yacht Club
After nine races spread over four grueling days, Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key (USA 115) is the 2017 J/111 World Champion. Going into day four, this regatta was still anyone’s game, and all eyes were on the top three contenders who had tussled for pole position throughout the regatta. Bright sunshine and 10 knots of air greeted the eight J/111 crews that assembled on San Francisco Bay Sunday morning for the final day of racing at the J/111 World Championship hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California. Racing had been consistently competitive throughout four days of competition, with regular leader changes and a good mix of boats winning top-three finishes. Better still, the weather cooperated perfectly, giving sailors a hearty dose of what they came for: San Francisco’s legendary summer breeze. Going into the final day, Jim Connolly’s Slush Fund (USA 019) topped the leaderboard, tied for total points (18) with Rod Warren’s Joust (AUS 1110). However, Slush Fund had a net score of 12 points (due to discarded races), while Warren and company carried 13 net points; Skeleton Key was in third place with 17 total points and 13 net points. "Coming into (Sunday), we had already enjoyed three days of racing," said Jenn Lancaster, St. Francis Yacht Club’s Race Director. "After a challenging distance race (Saturday), it was great to round-out this championship with racing on the Berkeley Circle." This return to the Circle wasn’t without its management headaches for StFYC’s capable Race Committee and their visiting Principal Race Officer, Jeff Johnson. "The concern was to figure out how to complete a great series on the Berkeley Circle in the midst of other Classes and clubs," said Johnson. "We had to contend with the Moore 24 Nationals to the east of us and the Optimist Pacific Coast Championships to the northeast, but we still had to fit in a 1.7 nautical-mile course without spilling into the shipping traffic." A moderate breeze worked in tandem with the current and tide to create lumpy seas that would only increase in height, steepness and frequency. The Race Committee signaled Course 14 (windward-leeward, twice around), and teams jostled for a favored spot on the starting line. Come the starting signal, Skeleton Key, Martin Roesch’s Velocity (USA 008) and Joust were the quickest off the lime, with five of the eight boats opting for the stronger pressure on the course’s left-hand side. A strong North Bay push threatened to set boats to the southeast that didn’t properly account for this influence, and—at the first windward mark—Slush Fund rounded and hoisted their kite first, followed by Skeleton Key and Doug and Jack Jorgensen’s Picosa (USA 120). Slush Fund successfully held their lead through the gate, followed by Skeleton Key and Joust, but fortunes changed come the second weather mark as Skeleton Key rounded first, followed by Picosa and Slush Fund. Numerous gybes and more leader changes ensued before Skeleton Key’s bow pierced the finishing line to take the win, followed by Picosa and Slush Fund. The RC promptly signaled the day’s last race, which was a windward-leeward-twice-around affair, fortified by an extra windward leg for an uphill finish. The starting signal sounded, with Skeleton Key again enjoying a fine start, followed by Velocity and Reuben Rocci’s Swift Ness (USA 101). By the first windward mark, Joust had claimed the pole position, followed by Skeleton Key and Slush Fund. Kites were hoisted and the bow spray instantly started flying. Positions held at the leeward gate all the way to the finishing line, where a loud chorus of cheers could be heard coming from the lone boat flying an overseas sail number. But while Joust sailed a phenomenal last race, this wasn’t enough to earn them the regatta’s highest honor, which went to Skeleton Key, a team that consistently proved their mettle. "Congratulations to Skeleton Key and Slush Fund," said a tired-but-happy looking Warren, reflecting on his third-place overall finish. "I thought four bullets would have done it, but not quite." After nine races, Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key crew are the new J/111 World Champions, and their victory on their home waters is made all the sweeter by the fact that they came in second at last year’s J/111 Worlds in Cowes, UK. "It took a lot of patience," said an elated Wagner. "There was a lot of depth at the top of the fleet. Slush Fund had the best speed; Joust was consistent and fast; we had our moments; and several others such as Picosa and Velocity sailed well. We took nothing for granted out there. It was a long regatta that wasn’t decided until the final beat. It took a lot of concentration, but I’m glad we held it together." When asked about the origins of his boat’s moniker, Wagner cracked a small smile. "A skeleton key is an Australian term for a surfboard that performs well in a variety of conditions, and we like to think that we sail well in all conditions." Based on all evidence seen this week, the entire sailing world would agree. Please visit stfyc.com/j111worlds2017 for the final finishing positions of all teams, as well as images and news from this world-class event.
J/111s Enjoy Swiftsure & Aldo Alessio Regattas on SF Bay
On a day that started grey and not particularly windy, the St. Francis Yacht Club hosted their annual Aldo Alessio & Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regattas for boats LOA >35' or holding an ORR-fully measured certificate. Friday's races involved heading out the Golden Gate to marks out in the ocean. Then, on Saturday and Sunday, the fleet continued sailing in the Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta. In Friday’s racing, the J/111s cleaned up in the ORR ToT Division, with Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY winning, Reuben Rocci’s SWIFT NESS taking second and Gorkem Ozcelebi’s DOUBLE DIGIT placing fifth. Over the two-day weekend in the J/111s, winning with three bullets and two seconds was Peter Wagner’s SKELETON KEY. Just one point back with the flip-flop of the KEY’s record was Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY (two bullets and three seconds). Taking the bronze was Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS with 20 points total. For event details, visit https://www.stfyc.com/.
Chasing Down the Miles at the J/111 World Championship
One of the marks of a World-Championship-level sailing team is the ability to rapidly adjust to evolving conditions while also being fast at courses of all lengths and shapes. Such was the test Saturday at the J/111 World Championship, which are being hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California and held on the waters of San Francisco Bay, as the race committee sent the eight-strong fleet on a 26.4-nautical-mile tour of the Bay that took teams from Alcatraz out under the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Bonito, then back into the Bay for some seriously fast legs that tested teams at all angles and all wind velocities, while also quizzing their ability to stay focused for hours. "There’s a strong precedent in the J/111 Class to have a distance race with their Worlds, so we’re including it," said Jenn Lancaster, St. Francis Yacht Club’s Race Director. "It worked out great with our schedule, and we created a course that gave people good exposure to all corners of the Bay and a chance to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge, which is a Bucket List item for most sailors." Given that conditions outside of the Golden Gate Bridge are usually a different animal than conditions inside, the adventure quotient was high come dock-out. "Lead, cover, extend, come home early, and watch out for whales," said Rod Warren, skipper of Joust (AUS 1110), which hails from the Sandringham Yacht Club in Sandringham, Australia, of his teams strategy. As for if his team prefers distance races or windward-leewards, Warren jested, "I’ll tell you after today!" A 5-8 knot breeze greeted sailors at the starting line, however the day’s forecast called for gathering airs as the sun marched west. The fleet vied for position closest to the committee boat as the official clock wound-down to straight zeros, with Doug and Jack Jorgensen’s Picosa (USA 120) crossing first, followed by Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key (USA 115) and Martin Roesch’s Velocity (USA 008). The Golden Gate Bridge’s north and south towers were just emerging from the Bay’s (in)famous marine layer as the fleet headed for the Marin side of the course and some current relief. Here, the key to success lay in hugging close to the Marin Headlands’ rocky coastline, practically scrapping the bricks as rigs cleared the Golden Gate Bridge. Outside of this world-famous landmark was a confused and sometimes-choppy seaway and even less pressure. Teams continued to hug the shoreline, their laminate sails and carbon rigs camouflaged against a backdrop of dark oceanic basalt cliffs and hills punctuated by redwoods, sequoias and juniper trees. Sticky conditions prevailed until teams rounded a mark off of Point Bonita Lighthouse, popped their kites, and headed back towards Treasure Island, with Slush Fund leading the way, followed by Picosa and Skeleton Key, with Joust in hot pursuit. Whales flashed their fins as the teams fought to keep their kites inflated —an issue that would vanish once teams entered a re-invigorated San Francisco Bay. Instantly, the Nantucket sleigh rides commenced as teams fought to control their steeds in 20+ knots. Come the second turning mark, situated off of Treasure Island, Picosa had snatched the lead, followed by Skeleton Key and Slush Fund, with Joust still skirmishing for a spot in the top three. Next, the fleet aimed their bows upwind for Harding Rock as a flood tide pressed hard against the buoy. The Berkeley Pier Ruins were the next turning point on the Bay Tour, and teams prepared for the final beat back up to Point Cavallo, where they would bear off and aim their bows for the finishing line. While the boathandling wasn’t easy, Skeleton Key picked-off Picosa’s lead at the last mark, however both boats went low after hoisting their kites, setting themselves up to cross the finishing line under jibs and mainsails, given the angles involved. Joust’s position gave them time to study the leaders’ fortunes, and they opted for a very different angle that allowed them to carry their kite all the way to a screaming first-place finish. "On the last run down, Aaron Cole, my tactician, worked out that we shouldn’t hoist our kite right away but instead cross the current and then go up with the kite," said an elated Warren at the dock. "We were in third place, but this queued us with the guys ahead of us, who we passed in that last bit, which I guess is the only bit that really counts." As for if Warren prefers distance races or windward-leewards, it’s safe to say that the jury is in on that decision. After seven races over three days, Joust is now topping the leaderboard, followed by Slush Fund and Skeleton Key. Stay tuned to stfyc.com/j111worlds2017 for the latest news.